Winter wonders to drive people into your venue

There’s always an opportunity for new business in foodservice and leisure, no matter the time of year. The challenge is spotting the opportunities and then ensuring you promote, promote and promote to secure their success. Here we look at how to boost sales in the first quarter of the year.

Reading time 5 minutes

The winter months are often written off by many as a quiet and unfruitful period that gets in the way of the busier spring, summer and festive calendar periods. However, with 70% of Brits still planning on making a trip to their local for food and drink over the months ahead[1], now is the time for foodservice and licensed venues to develop a warming offer that will pull in more punters.

More consumers across the UK are forgoing alcohol, with the month of January driving this gear shift as they seek to reverse the overindulgences of the Christmas period[2]. However, alcohol-free is here to stay beyond January as more consumers identify as ‘sober-curious’[3].

As an on-trade business, the uptick in alcohol-free drinks interest is an opportunity to up the number of new and interesting No & Low serves. Not only will this satiate those who are already on the lookout for such drinks, but if a non-drinker recognises your venue as one with excellent alcohol-free drinks offer, they’re more likely to return and possibly with friends. January is the perfect time to set the bar up for those looking to forgo alcohol, be it for one month or the whole year.

Soft drinks already have a foot up when it comes to alcohol-free but can play more of a central role when elevated. Houses sodas with attractive garnishes and glassware, for example, are easy and affordable options and can be interesting and exciting serves. Premium syrups such as Teisseire offer simple and tasty solutions for such occasions. 

The Homeworkers

The opportunities provided by winter, however, extend beyond the alcohol-free movement. UK consumers missed the pub[4] when they were closed during the height of the pandemic. Consumers are already visiting foodservice and licensed venues for meals and drinks with family and friends, which means there are other opportunities to be tapped into.

One is the working from pub initiative adopted by many outlets throughout the quieter days and times of the week. Some 55% of consumers who work from home said they would be open to working from a pub[5]. This is a huge opportunity for outlets to monetise as more UK workers continue to work from home either full time or part time in a hybrid or flexible capacity[6]

While the luxury of homeworking allows people the opportunity to balance work and life more efficiently, it can be less interesting for some who would like a change of scenery every now and then. Outlets should therefore consider providing a working from pub, restaurant or coffee shop package that provides consumers with options like unlimited coffee as well as breakfast and lunch deals. Free Wi-Fi and a warm, comfortable working environment are also a must when it comes to attracting this unique audience.

This is also the perfect opportunity to provide consumers working in your venue with soft drinks to help them tackle their tasks more efficiently. Cognitive and energising drinks brands such as Purdey’s provide consumers with the opportunity, through natural ingredients, to stop and take a break during the day with its Refocus, Rejuvenate or Replenish variants.

End of the day opportunities

Keep those working from pub in the venue for a little longer by offering them a new way to wind down with something delicious to sip and nibble on. The aperitivo moment, imported from Italy, is a pre-meal drink and snack that is also a cultural ritual on the continent.

Drinks, usually something bitter such as the Aperol Spritz, Americano or punchier Negroni, are served with lite bites in bars and cafes prior to dinner time later in the evening. It is an opportunity to meet with friends or to relax and unwind alone after a busy day.

While traditional drinks tend to be bitter, to stimulate the tastebuds and digestion, anything light and refreshing works perfectly, such as tonic water served with a dash of syrup and a dehydrated fruit garnish. Or create the classic Americano by mixing 25ml Campari and 25ml red vermouth in a long glass filled with ice before topping with Britvic soda water and garnishing with an orange twist.

Although the months of January through to March may feel bleak and grey, there are deep pockets of opportunity to continue driving consumers through your doors with until the frosts break and the sun shines bright once again.


[2] Star Pubs & Bars JAT research 2022





Create your account

Register a trade account today and get access to our great range of tools, resources and knowledge. Together, we'll help you save time, reduce costs and build your business.